Monday, October 03, 2005

Notes from Pawley's - "Those old people need us"

The third seminar of the Liberty Fellowship was the last week of September 2005 at Pawley's Island. Below are notes from the week.

We've spent three seminars studying how to achieve Aristotelian happiness. In the Ring of Gyges, a ring makes a just man invisible and anonymous. Wearing it,
no one ... would be so incorruptible that he would stay on the path of justice or bring himself to keep away from other people's property and not touch it, when he could with impunity take whatever he wanted from the market, go into houses and have sexual relations with anyone he wanted, kill anyone, free all those he wished from prison, and do the other things which would make him like a god among men.
Aristotle argues we are just only because our actions are visible to others and we are accountable to the community.

My grandfather Furman's parents died when he was young, and he was raised in poverty by an aunt. He was an alcoholic, and lived a fairly self-destructive life. In his 60s, through faith in God he got control over his demon and became sober.

"We love because he first loved us," the author of 1 John tells us. Paul is certain that,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, and with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ.
Into his 70s, Furman drove for Meals on Wheels. He not only delivered meals, but he took time to visit with each person he brought a meal to. They were more hungry for his company at times than they were for the food.

I sometimes rode with him. One day he came to get me, and I told him I didn't want to go. He calmly, but sternly, told me that was OK, but that, "those old people need us" and he left.

Furman seared my soul with a hot brand. He had found peace that passes all understanding, and out of gratitude he brought a small token of the love and peace he knew to the old people. With that simple declarative statement he brought me along with him into a world of service to others.

Paul says now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face. The old people saw a small reflection of the devine in a broken vessel of a man who delivered them a meal from time to time and stayed to visit for awhile. He gave them all he had to give out of gratitude for what he himself had received.

Furman wasn't just because other people were looking. Aristotle didn't get that.

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